The Neon Graveyard marks the end of a six-book series, which started with The Scent of Shadows, all about the agents of Light and Darkness and their eternal battle. Figured prominently in the midst of all of this is Joanna Archer, someone who is traditionally thought of as The Kairos, or the only successful blending of Dark and Light, born out of a union of an agent of the Light who needed to get close to a the primary antagonist of the series, the Tulpa, also known as Joanna’s father.
This book steers us in a different direction from that belief at first, but gradually builds to an epic conclusion that answers all questions fans have had about this series since its outset.
You know how everyone says to never judge a book by its cover? Well, I did”¦ and boy, was it worth it! I was intrigued by the title Phoenix Rising, or rather the subtitle — A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel — but was snared by the art on the front. Going in with an expectation of sexy, steampunk fantasy I was happily rewarded with an excellent introduction to the characters. Agents Braun and Books came to life immediately. Even better, they continued to grow slowly throughout the book keeping me interested in not just the plotline, but in the character development as well. As with any steampunk novel this book is full of mechanized gadgets, well described and alluring. I might perhaps be doing this book an injustice by labeling it so, as it does have all the earmarks of an excellent fantasy-mystery. That said, it was a well-written, highly entertaining romp.
The prologue to artist Brom‘s novel The Child Thief begins with a girl who is afraid of an abusive stepfather, which leads into the appearance of Peter Pan, who has come to “save” this child from the certain doom she faced at the hands of the malevolent step-parent. But in Brom’s world, things are not as clear cut as they seem. When people grow up, they often start to see the odd perversity in the idea that a teenage boy who is perpetually young can bring little boys to an island with no grown-ups (and seemingly no problems), which ties into the whole Michael Jackson and Neverland Ranch issues. But in this version of the tale, Peter Pan is about as similar to his Disney incarnation as Robin Williams is to Justin Bieber.
Aloha from Hell is the third book in the Sandman Slim series from Richard Kadrey and it is one hell of a ride. Wise cracking antihero and nephilim (that’s half human, half angel to you) Jim Stark, A.K.A. Sandman Slim, has been to Hell before. In fact, he spent eleven years down there as a killing machine. He hasn’t been back in Los Angeles for very long before he’s called upon to help find a missing boy who’s possessed by an unknown demon, which is odd because Stark and his friends thought they knew all the demons already. He really doesn’t want the job, but when all signs in the case start pointing toward a personal vendetta against Stark, he knows who’s behind it and fully intends to put that guy out of business permanently with the help of the Kissi, another particularly fierce species which doesn’t quite belong anywhere and stink like vinegar.
Set in 12th century England, The Devil’s Diadem is the story of Maeb Longtofte, whose mother died too soon and whose father ditched her to serve the Knights of Templar only to come home and die, leaving her with nothing but rags and a name of somewhat low ranking nobility. She’s an orphan with no place to live and no dowry to attract a potential husband. It is her noble name that affords her the opportunity to serve Lady Adelie, Countess of Pengraic. Thus begins Maeb’s roller coaster ride to infamy and riches. But there’s a catch. Actually, there are several catches and twists and turns so mind-blowing, you’ll never predict what will happen next.